CampusDoor Smart Options News Release 7/23

Campus Door Draft News Release 7-23-10


Borrow Smart with Market-Leading Rates, Faster Pay Off-Time
and On-time Payment Reward

Campus Door announced today that it has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer a student loan program to credit unions to help their members meet the rising cost of college while helping them graduate with less debt and pay off faster after graduation. The CU Student HELP (Higher Education Loan Program) Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae will be administered by Campus Door and offered to credit unions nationwide.

According to Damien Q. Elias, President and CEO of Campus Door, “the Smart Option Loan provides families with the ability to pursue their dreams of a college education without graduating with excessive debt.”

With the CU Student HELP Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae, students pay interest while in school and graduate with less debt, compared to other longer-term private loan alternatives in which no payments are made until after graduation. With the loan’s shorter repayment period, a customer can pay off the loan five to eight years faster after graduation, compared to a standard 15-year interest deferred private student loan. The customer may select either a $25 monthly in-school payment plan or opt to pay interest only payments while in school. A typical freshman can save 30 to 50 percent on finance charges over the life of the loan.

Designed to supplement a student’s federal student loans and other financial aid, the CU Student HELP Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae can help students cover up to 100 percent of their education expenses. The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan features market-leading interest rates that reward responsible borrowers as they pursue their graduate or undergraduate degrees. Also available are benefits such as an on-time payment reward and interest-rate discounts for enrolling to make automatic payments.

To offer the Smart Option Student Loan, CU Student HELP partnered with Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading saving, planning, and paying for college company. Since its founding nearly 40 years ago, the company has helped more than 31 million people make the investment in a higher education.

CU Student HELP recommends private student loans to help bridge the college financing gap after exploring scholarships, grants and federal student loans. For more information, visit

“CampusDoor provides innovative student loan solutions, systems and processing to lenders enabling them to help their customers pay for college. We understand the education finance marketplace, and leverage our knowledge and technology to help our clients achieve their goals,” Elias added
CampusDoor created CU Student HELP to provide credit unions with the ability to offer private student loans to their members. The CU Student HELP program allows each credit union to choose from one of two available options-- the balance sheet program or the Smart Option Student Loan referral program. Both of the programs increase revenue, minimize risk and fill a gap in the institution’s existing suite of products.

Cumberland County Business Development-- 7/6

CCED helps Local Tech Company Stay in Carlisle
Campus Door re-opens in Carlisle and creates 100 Hi-Tech jobs

Carlisle, PA (July 6, 2010) - Campus Door is once again setting the stage to grow in Carlisle. After a remarkable start in 1995 through 2006, Damien Elias has breathed new life into Campus Door with assistance from Cumberland County Economic Development (CCED) and the Governor's Action Team (GAT).
Damien first approached CCED in November of 2009 looking for assistance to keep the company in Carlisle. "They were looking for options that would allow them to stay in the area and we were able to provide a comprehensive list from which to choose." stated Anthony Amadure, Business Development Specialist from CCED. CCED reviewed a number of programs with Damien, including options on energy savings, financing, and workforce needs to showcase area resources and the benefits of staying in Carlisle.
"Campus Door was considering locations in at least 2 other states", stated Omar Shute, Executive Director of CCED. "We decided to work with the GAT right away for business incentives and assistance. Getting GAT involved proved to be a key factor in moving their project forward as they constructed a competitive package which included almost a half-million dollars total in Opportunity Grant, Job Training, and Job Creation Tax Credit funding". The GAT package will allow Campus Door to purchase equipment, train their employees, and hold down their overall project costs. "GAT has always been a strong and reliable partner when working on projects of this size and importance", noted Anthony Amadure "and we thank them for their assistance."
"The state package was essential in our company being able to stay and re-open in Carlisle", Damien noted. "In the end we were all very happy to keep Campus Door in Carlisle." "The proposed 100 full-time, high-paying, high-tech positions are a much needed boost to the local economy. This continues to add to the almost 400 jobs that will be created through two previous, high profile CCED projects announced earlier this year - the Office Depot and Alacer expansions. We are delighted to help a local success story come back and contribute once again to our local economy," stated Omar Shute.
Originally a lender of private student loans, Damien had to change the company's focus due to new federal regulations. In March, President Barack Obama signed a law that ends the practice of private banks lending federally subsidized Stafford Loans, which could potentially save the government more than $60 billion over ten years. The law took effect on July 1st. This new focus will allow Damien to hopefully corner a new market by selling web-based software to banks and other lending institutions that make private student loans. He hopes to be a lender again, but will be happy simply being a loan facilitator for now.
Campus Door's upgraded and enhanced software platform will allow banks to offer private education finance solutions to their college-bound customers and to develop custom branded student loan programs to meet each lender's education finance product needs. The first lender to use the system in Virginia will go live the week of July 15th. "We had to adopt a very different perspective this time, Damien said, as we now have to make loans for others instead of always being the lender ourselves."
After operating in Carlisle for over 10 years, the company was sold to Lehman Brothers in 2006 after handling loan requests in excess of $2 billion and employing around 300 people. Lehman went bankrupt in 2008 during the financial collapse of mortgage backed securities and Damien was able purchase the company back in 2009 for an undisclosed amount. Now, with the help of ten new private investors, assistance from CCED and GAT, and an additional equity infusion of about $800,000, the company is poised to grow once again.
The mission of CCED is to be a catalyst for job creation; entrepreneurship; business attraction, retention, and expansion on behalf of the citizens of Cumberland County and South Central Pennsylvania.

Central Penn Business Journal Article 6/25-- CampusDoor revived as student-loan technology company

CampusDoor revived as student-loan technology company
By: Jim T. Ryan
Analyst: Private loan market will be highly competitive

Carlisle-based CampusDoor, a lender of private student loans that closed in 2009, is making a revival under the company’s founder, who sold the business in 2007 to financial giant Lehman Bros., which failed in 2008.

Still, CampusDoor will never the same after the financial collapse of 2008, said Damien Elias, the company’s chairman and CEO.

“Now, because of illiquidity in the financial markets, we’re actually unable to make loans ourselves,” he said.

Instead, CampusDoor is selling its Web-based software to banks and other lending institutions making private student loans. The company has become a facilitator for loans, even if the goal is someday to be the lender again, Elias said. CampusDoor’s technology will go live this week for First National Bank based in Altavista, VA., he said.

“It was a different perception that we had to adopt in the company – that we had to do for others,” he said.

Lehman Bros. Bank bought CampusDoor three years ago. In 2008, CampusDoor became a casualty of the financial collapse when Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy protection under the weight of its dealings in mortgage-backed securities. The incident sent shockwaves through the world economy and set up the conditions for the Great Recession.

CampusDoor stopped lending in the wake of the crisis but continued to service existing loans. The company laid off 300 people following Lehman’s announcement that it was closing the business.

The company’s abrupt end in 2008 was in stark contrast to its successes since Elias started the company in 1995. By 2006, CampusDoor had loan requests worth more than $2 billion, was building a $1.5 million addition to its headquarters and hired more than 70 employees.

Elias repurchased the company in late 2009 after a year of negotiations with the Lehman Bros. estate. He declined to release the purchase price.

Campus Door Holdings Inc., the company’s parent entity, received a $3 million mortgage in May from M & T Bank on its office property at 1415 Ritner Highway, according to Cumberland County records. The money was used for operational capital, Elias said.

The company also racked up 10 private investors, he said. CampusDoor sold $750,000 worth of equity to the investors, closing the sale June 11, Elias said.

Financial aid offices at area colleges said CampusDoor contacted them about lending to students for the upcoming school year.

The company called Dickinson College in Carlisle to ask about the school’s loan period dates, said Carolyn Thompson, the college’s loan coordinator. Several months ago, CampusDoor also contacted Messiah College in Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County, said Greg Gearhart, the director of financial aid.

CampusDoor’s re-emergence is following a trend around the country, said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of, a resource for students who need college financing.

Some lending companies are coming back, ad banks are broadening their private loan offerings because of new federal regulations, he said.

In March, President Barack Obama signed a law that ends the practice of private banks lending federally subsidized Stafford Loans, which could save the government more than 60 billion over 10 years. The law takes effect July 1.

“A lot of the private lenders that were making federal student loans are looking to replace those with private loan programs,” Kantrowitz said.

The increasing number of lenders and products will make the student loans market much more competitive, eventually bringing down interest rates, he said. Increased lending ahead of fall enrollments should accelerate the trend, he said.

The changes will be good for business, Elias said.

“It is going to be a good move in the long run,” he said. “Banks now need a new product to attract customers. And let’s be honest, there’s still a huge need for private student loans to fill the gaps.”
Although banks continued lending to students, 2008’s scale-back of loan securitization nearly killed non-bank lenders, Kantrowitz said.

Securitization is grouping loans together in a security similar to stocks and selling them to investors. When companies did that with subprime mortgages, recurring defaults made most of the securities worthless. Some firms, including Lehman Bros., were heavily invested in that market.

Lending companies used a similar mechanism in the student loan market, Kantrowitz said. Companies borrowed money to make the loans, securitized them, and sold the securities, he said.

“Education loans are less risky than mortgages, but the market just got gun-shy of anything that involved securitization,” Kantrowitz said.

Lending companies moved to credit to continue student loans, but that only lasted until the credit was maxed out, he said.

“Around the time CampusDoor went out of business, there were a lot of private lenders that went out of business,” Messiah’s Gearhart said.

Sales representatives from lending companies stopped visiting colleges when the financial crisis hit, he said. Some companies closed, while others cut staff and stopped lending.

Many of those companies won’t return to the student-loan arena, and if they do, the companies could be a lot smaller, Elias said.

Even the market for new loans is smaller. It was worth $20 billion in 2008, and today its worth about $8 billion, Elias said. That could grow to $14 billion in two years.

“I think there’s a substantial growth potential over the next two or three years,” Elias said. “I wouldn’t have decided to buy the company back if there wasn’t an opportunity.”


A-chieve [uh-cheev]
To bring to a successful end; carry through; accomplish


in-no-vate [in-uh-veyt]
To introduce something new; make changes in anything established.


un-der-stand [uhn-der-stand]
To be thoroughly familiar with; apprehend clearly the character, nature or subtleties of.

Who We Are

CampusDoor was founded in 1995 to deliver student loans to borrowers and their families via web-based application systems. Today, that sounds too basic for any company’s vision statement. But in the mid-nineties, the Company pioneered dozens of firsts: the first online private, credit based student loan application with a live underwriting and response system, the first truly branded student loan, the first venture capital funded, privately owned private education lender. CampusDoor first launched at NASFAA in 2000 and made its first loan in the spring of 2001, with 46 loans processed. CampusDoor also shifted into a strategic alliance with KeyBank in early 2001. Just two years later, the company crafted the auto-certification process which allowed consumers to apply for and be approved in just seconds for a private student loan.

Nearly 15 years later, the company, its original founders, and employees have experienced the ups and downs of the financial world. Sold to Lehman Brothers in 2006, the company grew to become one of the largest private loan providers in the US. The company was on track to originate $1 billion in loans in 2008 with over 300 employees in four locations. Later that year, Lehman Bros.’ bankruptcy forced the closing of CampusDoor. In late 2009, the founders reacquired the company from Lehman Bros. In the first half of 2010, the founders and employees worked to enhance and redeploy the CampusDoor loan origination systems and the company made its first loan on the new platform in July.

CampusDoor broadcasts their new mantra proudly: Understand, Innovate, Achieve. Our mission is: “CampusDoor provides innovative student loan solutions, systems and processing to lenders enabling them to help their customers pay for college. We understand the education finance marketplace, and leverage our knowledge and technology to help our clients achieve their goals.”
We will be posting frequent updates noting our accomplishments and chronicling our journey towards developing even more innovative products and services to better serve you.

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